Edited from Lifestorming by Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss.
The evolutionary journey is not grandiose, but gradual. It’s about doing something—even small things—every day, not waiting for huge leaps and otherwise doing nothing. Children evolve very quickly. Why should we be different as adults?
The challenge is that in adults, evolution must be self-intentional. If we don’t deliberately pursue our evolution it won’t happen. If we don’t continually strive to learn we will stagnate and stop our growth. We may be comfortable, but our contribution will stop.
To continue our evolution in leadership and life, we must continue to learn. In the most positive sense, learning is power, and those of us engaged in lifelong learning—whether seven or seventy—are constantly enhancing our power. Our evolutionary journey is one of accumulating power so that we can help ourselves and others. This is the essence of leadership.
We have to be lifelong learners and continually gain power over:
- Health: What do we need to do to sustain good health, especially as our physical condition changes? What can we be proactive about and what should we be reactive about? What are only fads and myths and what is fact? What kind of physical activity is best for us?
- Money: How much will we need at different points in our life for what kind of lifestyle? How should investment strategies change? How much risk tolerance do I have and should I have? What kind of banking relationships should I create?
- Relationships: Are there long-term, poor relationships that ought to be repaired (or abandoned)? Are you developing new and appropriate relationships for you career? Are you making the most of relationships to expand your horizons, gain work, and grow?
- Happiness: Are you enlarging your sources of happiness? Can you synthesize happiness by making lemonade from lemons and a citrus industry from lemonade? Are you creating happiness for others and sharing yours with friends and family?
- Meaning: Happiness and meaning are interrelated. Too many of us believe that we are engaged in a search for meaning. The truth is that we should be oriented toward creating meaning. The creation of meaning involves the perpetuation of our own happiness.
Lifestorming is about the independent and bold creation of meaning for ourselves, shunning the external meaning often foist upon us by society and the media. Our position is that just as no one should consume wealth without creating wealth, no one should consume happiness without creating happiness., and so on. There should be no one who is simply a taker and consumer.
Truly successful people are happy because they lead lives full of meaning. There is meaning in their lives because they are happy. They realize the reciprocity between happiness and meaning. We need meaning and happiness to lead great lives. This is the essence of lifestorming.